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He earns in dollars but spends in rupees

By Girish Bhagia
May 30, 2005 14:22 IST
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The most mysterious thing about education is that you never realise how it will help you.

When I was in school, my friends and I would say, how will trigonometry help me in life? What difference does it make if I don't know the capital of Brazil?

While it does not have a direct impact on your career if you don't know all this, the most important thing that education teaches you is how to learn.

My father is a very, very intelligent man. Which had its pros and cons when I was in school. The good thing was, I got good genes. The bad thing was, my parents had very high expectations, education-wise, from me.

But I hated school. Thanks to good genes, passing the examinations was easy for me. That is all I managed till Class X.

At junior college, I don't know what happened. I started taking examinations seriously and worked hard. I got only 85% at my HSC exams -- good enough to get me into a descent engineering college in Pune, but far below my expectations.

I was back to my old self, just wanting to pass my exams somehow.

I managed to finish my electrical engineering, thanks to ATKTs (Allowed To Keep Terms, a provision that allows a student to move on to the next year by giving him or her another opportunity to clear the exam in which he or she has failed)

After my engineering, I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to work in the electrical engineering field. I did not know anything else.

I sat at home doing nothing for about a year. My sister, who was in the US, asked me to apply there for further studies. I did that, along with getting into an MBA programme in Pune. I got into an M S Electrical Engineering programme at a pathetic school in a small town near Chicago. And I was off to the States.

The flight to Chicago was long and boring, but it got me thinking about my future, finally!

I knew what I had to do:

1. Get an assistantship.
2. Change my major
3.Change my school.

I applied for assistantship in several departments except my own as I wanted to change my major. I got it in the Physics department because of my electrical engineering background.

I then changed my major and got myself enrolled at a business school with a specialisation in Information Systems.

I also changed to Loyola University, Chicago, with an assistantship. One of my professors at Loyola, liked me and introduced me to a lady who owned a small software consultancy firm.

Her name was Tania Neild, one of the most intelligent, smart, ambitious and hardworking women I have ever met.

I found it hard to cope with school work, assistantship and a part-time web site development work. But I did realise this was a great opportunity, and I worked really hard.

So, of course, when I graduated, I already had a high paying job lined up for me with a financial company where Tania had joined as CTO.

I slogged there for two years.

And I decided I have to look for opportunities in India. I always wanted to come back home.

I convinced my boss about working from India -- it was not difficult, since she believed in working remotely.

I came to India three years ago as a consultant working from home.

I used my experience and contacts to slowly build a small firm called WebDev, Inc. with four employees doing software development for financial companies in the US.

I making money in dollars, but spend in rupees. The grass definitely looks much greener on my side!

This is Girish's story. What's your career story? Share it with us!


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Girish Bhagia